Paella…my kind…

by Sunita on May 9, 2007

Have you ever gone through that feeling when something needs to be done and you just don’t feel like doing it… well, now I’m rambling.

Last Monday, we were all at home as it was a bank holiday. This meant that we had a long weekend. The first two and a half days went by in a breeze. The kids had a great time, though not too much outdoors , what with the bleak weather. I made little treats and played with them and we had a nice time. Towards the second half of the day, all my energy seemed to have been drained…I postponed making anything for dinner till the nth hour. But, then, with three hungry faces staring back at me, I dragged myself towards the kitchen, promising myself to somehow rustle up something, so that the brood can be fed.

Now,don’t get it wrong…some might think that my better half could have lent a hand…well, that is where the problem lies… Dinesh is a foodie at heart and a fairly decent cook and does not mind at all as far as helping in the kitchen goes. But it is your’s truthfully who is to be blamed as I consider the kitchen to be my domain and somehow can’t tolerate any interference. In fact sometimes he thinks I’m mad and a bit silly to refuse his helping hand when others in my place would have jumped at the offer. Well, silly or not, I like doing things in the kitchen my way, and practically speaking, I have a lot less cleaning up to do…less chance of things being misplaced in the racks. Needless to say, I do overwork myself at times while trying to feed my ego. I allow him to help in laying the table, but that’s as far as I would let him. In fact, things have gone to such a stage that last year, when I was down with very high fever, and when boosting my ego was the last thing on my mind, the kids were really surprised and wondered as to what was ‘daddy doing in mummy’s kitchen’. I don’t think I’m sending out very great signals at that…

Never mind, as I was saying, I wanted to make something quick and a one dish meal. Rummaging through the pantry, I dragged out the last remnants of the paella rice that have been sitting for some time now…if somebody raids my kitchen, they are bound to find quite a lot of things like that. Paella is a medium grain rice and is a bit sticky when cooked. Prepared with an assortment of vegetables, chicken and spices, the dish turned into an aromatic and hearty meal…a nice end to a shaky start…
I always try to make dishes which would suit our palates and also according to the availability of the ingredients in my pantry. Authentic Spanish paella even calls for a special pan to cook it. I’ve read quite a lot of paella recipes, but this one is my version with a bit of inspiration from here and there…I hope the Spaniards will excuse me for tweaking their famous dish just a wee bit…

Although, I’ve made it non-vegetarian, it can easily be turned into a vegetarian one as well. Just use vegetable stock instead of the chicken. Again, those who prefer can add sea- food as well.

Without more ado, here’s what’s needed-

1 and 1/2 C of paella rice
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red and 1/2 green peppers, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2-3 pieces of chicken breasts, cut into strips or small pieces
1 carrot, chopped
2 handfuls of sweetcorn
4 C of chicken stock( keep handy a couple of cups more)
3-4 tblsp olive oil
salt to taste

Herbs and spices-

1/4 tsp saffron strands
3 pods of garlic
1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp thyme( I used the dried ones)
1/2 tsp paprika

How to-

Mix all the herbs and spices with a tblsp of the stock, crush in a mortar and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir for another five minutes.

Add the rice(unwashed) into the pan along with the 4 cups of chicken stock, the herb and spice mixture and season with salt. Cover and cook over low heat till done. Check to see that the rice does not burn at the bottom(although the Spaniards consider the burnt bits to be equally delicious, I have an aversion to burnt food). If it gets too dry, add some more stock. Actually, it depends upon the consistency desired. If a dry dish is wanted , then there is no need to be too generous with the stock. Again, although a typical paella is usually not stirred once the rice and stock has been added, I did uncover the pan a few times to check.

Once the rice is cooked, keep the pan covered for a couple of minutes so that all the flavours can be further absorbed by the rice.

Once uncovered, I ladled it into serving bowls, and there was a burst of flavours in our mouths..not too overpowering, but a nice feel… Agastya could’nt help asking for more…was, in fact, a very gratifying dish…and very filling to boot!!!

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandeepa May 9, 2007 at 12:42 pm

That looks wonderful Sunita. I love Pella and have had it only at restaurants, the one with loads of seafood in it.

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2 Asha May 9, 2007 at 12:53 pm

I have eaten Paella in Spain with lots of Sea food!Love your version better,vegetarian:))
Looks great.

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3 Richa May 9, 2007 at 1:10 pm

All that ends well….
I totally relate to what u r saying :) i myself consider the kitchen to be my domain heh!heh!
Paella looks good, nice quick one.

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4 sunita May 9, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Sandeepa,thanks… Dinesh is allergic to shellfish…

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5 sunita May 9, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Asha,thanks…I love the aromas that emanate from this dish…

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6 sunita May 9, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Richa, join the brigade…yes, it’s nice and quick and quite full of flavours…

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7 Mishmash ! May 9, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Sunita, dont worry..there re some who read your ramblings…so keep writing :)

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8 sunita May 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Shn, oh how I love to ramble…thanks for going through them patiently…

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9 trupti May 9, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Gosh….I feel the same…the kitchen is my domain, and though my husband cooks…I literally watch him like a hawk..he knows it, but the smart man he is, just ignores it….I guess most of us feel this way when it comes to the “heart” of the home. But I’m so bad, even my MIL stays away…hahaha.

Paella looks good, I’ve had it once,and that too a vegetarian version…which was quite nice.

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10 sunita May 9, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Trupti…haha…that’s a nice one…even I give that hawkish look whenever he’s there…I don’t have a MIL so have no idea as to how I would have behaved…

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11 nalini May 9, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Hi,

I have never eaten Paella! Your yummy picture makes me want to try it soon.
Cheers,
Nalini

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12 sunita May 9, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Hi Nalini…nice to have you over…do give it a try…it’s mild flavours are a treat…of course, it’s my version…

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13 Suganya May 9, 2007 at 6:33 pm

I make a vegetarian version of this, substituting chickpeas for chicken.. But aint that saffron color lovely

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14 sunita May 9, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Suganya, welcome to my world…and yes, I simply adore saffron…

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15 bee May 9, 2007 at 8:13 pm

those drawings in your header are adorable. so is your paella.

did your kids draw them?

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16 sunita May 9, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Bee, thanks…well, the drawings were…ready yourself…mine…well actually, I was trying to copy my daughter…she loves drawing…would have been better if I had let her do it…maybe next time…

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17 bee May 9, 2007 at 9:14 pm

who cares who drew them? they’re wonderful.

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18 sunita May 9, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Bee, thanks for the booster…

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19 Roopa May 10, 2007 at 12:57 am

i haven’t tried this before. the domain uuugh.. hmm well sometimes i too fell that way esp when i am trying out a new dish, but frankly my h is a great help to me in the kitchen….he just doesn’t care so we end up distributing the dishes to cook…

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20 musical May 10, 2007 at 4:01 am

Paella, OMG! feels so good to see this recipe. I love Paella and just like your vegetarian adaptation , a friend would make this. Am totally gonna’ try this one, Sunita.

and for me, no choice, kitchen is my domain, i am the only one at home ;) .

Thanks for sharing this.

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21 Reena May 10, 2007 at 6:51 am

i have never had paella rice or i think i never did :) ). the rice looks tempting.

btw did you change blog header? i am sure those cute drawing are by your kid (s). adorable!!!

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22 Sukanya Ramkumar May 10, 2007 at 2:17 pm

hay it is very nice to see…very differernt recipe….love it..

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23 SHANTI BHANU May 10, 2007 at 4:27 pm

hi thats a grt recipe…nice blog nice pics.

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24 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm

Roopa,do try it…well, even Dinesh really does’nt mind helping…but then…what can he do…with me bossing and hovering around, the poor man has learnt to leave me alone…

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25 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Musical, you’re welcome…do try it…well,I made it with chicken… to make it vegetarian, just follow the same instructions by substituting the chicken stock with the vegetable…

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26 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Reena, do give it a try…something different…and again, those drawings in the header are by your’s faithfully…my daughter’s ones are better…

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27 musical May 10, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Sure Snuita, i will :) i have to, this is too good. as i said, i will follow your suggestion to use vegetable stock.

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28 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Sukanya,thanks…nice to have you over…

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29 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:10 pm

Shanti, thanks..it’s really nice to have you over…

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30 sunita May 10, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Musical, do go on…

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31 Cynthia May 10, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Sunita, your writing reveals so much about what a wonderful person you are. I wish you were nearby so we could spend time sipping tea and talking about food and life…

I did not realise that paella was made with a special kind of rice… good to know.

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32 sunita May 11, 2007 at 8:53 am

Cynthia, thanks…I too wish the same…but then , who knows, maybe someday we will meet…as for the tea, I don’t have it at all(strange, isn’t it, for someone who comes from a place where some of the world’s finest teas come from), but we can still talk about life and food…so until we have the good fortune of actually meeting each other,I love having you over virtually, you’re always welcome here…

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